The moment wasn’t too big for Chris Paul as he stepped on the court for his first career NBA Finals on Tuesday night. Instead, the 36-year-old veteran rose to the occasion and led his Phoenix Suns to a 118-105 win over Milwaukee Bucks and a 1-0 lead in the finals series.
Paul delivered an impressive performance against the Bucks, leading both teams in scoring with 32 points while adding nine assists and four rebounds. He especially came up big in the third quarter, when he scored half of his points while shooting 6 out of 7 from the floor and making all three attempts behind the arc.
While Chris Paul already compiled a Hall of Fame-worthy career, he never managed to reach the NBA Finals due to a combination of injuries, bad breaks, and tough opponents. He now has a chance to go all the way and cement his legacy while also bringing the Suns their first title in the history of the franchise.
But while the odds are in Phoenix’s favor, Paul knows that the things are far from over.
“We’ve been building all season long for these moments,” said Paul after the game. “We’re going to keep playing. This is just one game. We’ve got to stay locked in.”
Game 1 also saw All-Star Devin Booker scoring 27 points to go with six assists and three steals for the Suns, while DeAndre Ayton had a monster double-double with 22 points and 19 rebounds.
Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points and 17 rebounds for Milwaukee, playing in his first game since suffering a knee injury in the Eastern Conference Finals. Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez added 29 points and 17 points, respectively.
The NBA Finals will remain in Phoenix for Game 2, which is scheduled for Thursday night.